Now that Mount Airy officials have given approval for the city’s curbside recycling program to be expanded to commercial establishments, there are uncertainties about when this will begin.
“We don’t have a schedule,” Public Works Director Jeff Boyles said in the wake of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners voting unanimously last week to add the commercial component to curbside recycling.
This means businesses around the city will be able to join homes in the single-stream recycling of materials such as paper, plastics, glass and aluminum directly from the premises of each.
The question is when.
Boyles said the first step will involve contacting all of the affected entities in town to inform them about the impending availability of commercial curbside recycling. This practice was implemented for residences in early 2012.
At last count, there were 335 potential new recycling customers from the commercial side, including 80 in the downtown Municipal Service District (MSD), where there is a concentration of businesses, and 255 outside the district.
Boyles said that once responses are received from business operators after they are notified about the availability of curbside recycling and indicate whether they wish to participate, the city sanitation department can plan what is needed to serve that sector.
This will include setting a start date for commercial curbside recycling to begin, the public works director indicated.
Based on checks with other cities, a participation rate of 25 percent to 50 percent will be considered a reasonable figure for Mount Airy.
Only present trash customers are eligible for the service, with each to be furnished one recycling cart and additional ones provided at $65 each to the recipient, based on present cart costs.
Commercial curbside recyclables will be collected on an every-other-week basis at each location outside the MSD on the day the automated recycling truck is in the particular area involved. Collections are planned every other Friday within the MSD using a rear-loader truck.
The city commissioners seemed pleased with the concept after being briefed on it by Boyles, leading to their unanimous approval of the commercial recycling plan.
Its cost is put at only $1,040 per year, which relates to depreciation of equipment for the program that will have no other up-front costs, Boyles said.
The city sanitation division now has blue recycling carts available to meet the expected commercial demand of 84 to 168, which were obtained with grant funds before the residential program started. Carts also have become available due to citizens declining to participate.
Extra personnel expenses related to the expansion are put at $3,120 per year, but since this can be absorbed using existing employees there will be no out-of-pocket cost for that segment, either, according to Boyles.
“The recycling efforts of the city are commendable,” Commissioner Jim Armbrister said after the unanimous vote.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.